Confidence among British companies has jumped to the highest level in more than four years, although the recovery is at risk without more business investment, according to a report. The optimism measure of BDO’s business trends report jumped in March to 103.2 – from 99.4 – the highest score since the summer of 2006. Similarly, the professional services firm said short-term expectations of future revenue had recovered to levels not seen since the third quarter of 2007 – before the onset of recession. This measure – the output index – rose in March to 102 from 99. John Le Poidevin, head of bars and restaurants at BDO, told M&C Report: “People are now a lot more certain of what the future looks like, more so than even at the turn of the year. “Companies feel more able to plan, confident that the worst is over and that spending has held up, in spit of what pressure might be coming in terms of higher taxes. “That said, as always, people say they won’t really have a clear line of sight until the end of the summer, but generally there is more confidence. That the sector is skewed towards the South East helps because there is a lot more confidence in this part of the country than elsewhere.” Business investment in the UK fell by 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the third, and was 23.5% lower than the same period a year earlier. The report said that renewed optimism could be short-lived if a lack of investment presented a barrier to growth. It said companies still lacked confidence to hire new staff, with its employment index remaining below the 95 mark, which signalled rising employment. BDO said Britain should not look for a consumer-led recovery as a sluggish jobs market, expectations of higher taxes, weak earnings growth, the reversal of the VAT reduction and large levels of household debt would all bear down on consumer spending.